No shortage of Xmas crises
Updated: Dec 20, 2018
This Week – Human rights groups united by Google, NRL frontpage news and Broad resigns over ‘sugar babes’ scandal
Google’s project Dragonfly has exposed the company to accusations of being complicit in human rights violations
Google’s ongoing development of a censored search engine for China has drawn ongoing criticism from a range of human rights groups with claims that Google will be assisting the Chinese Government to spy on its citizens.
Recent reporting indicates that Google has a team, under the project code name Dragonfly, that is secretly working on getting a search engine back in China.
In late November hundreds of Google employees delivered an open letter to the company’s leadership demanding an end to the development of a censored search engine for Chinese users.
At the same time more than 60 human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have demanded Google end their effort to launch the censored search engine in China, saying the move could make the company "complicit in human rights violations". Amnesty International accused Google of helping the Chinese government spy on its citizens.
With ongoing accusations of ‘big brother’ monitoring and collection through social media and search engines, it is interesting to see Google progress this project which appears to lack support from the company’s own employees.
This is not the only crisis Google is currently facing. Recently it was accused of breaking a name suppression order when it sent an email identifying a man accused of murdering a British backpacker in New Zealand. Google analytics report the man’s name was searched 100,000 times on the global search engine following the email.
If Google does go ahead with project Dragonfly it will be interesting to see how it distances itself from the claimed human rights violations.
Latest news indicates that Google may have bowed to pressure and put a hold on the project.
NRL’s lightweight response to a spate of ‘off-field incidents’
The NRL and the players’ association met for crisis talks to address the issue of player behaviour after a spate of incidents marred the off-season.
… and let’s be clear, by ‘off-field incidents’ we refer to charges laid against current and former players that range from common assault and acts of indecency to aggravated sexual assault.
In such a dark period for the code, the NRL leadership remains firm on its policy of allowing the legal process to take its course.
Action to date has involved NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and Chair Peter Beattie delivering a plea to clubs to help clean up the game’s image. Greenberg said “I urged, encouraged and reminded them there’s an onus on all us in the game to make sure we behave and make good decisions.”
There are claims that rugby league players receive more training and advice about treating women respectfully than most other workforces.
Surprisingly with all the ‘bad decisions’ being made by players there does not seem to be any acknowledgement of the victims of this violence nor acknowledgement that their current efforts to curb violence and anti-social behaviour are failing. While the number of incidents is high, this is not uncharted territory for the code, yet their response appears undercooked considering the severity of the crimes involved.
Resignation of Nationals MP following Hong Kong dating site scandal
In an emerging crisis for the National Party, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Broad, resigned from the ministry after New Idea magazine published a story alleging he used a dating site while on an overseas taxpayer-funded work trip.
New Idea reported that Broad, a married man, travelled to Hong Kong in September and went on a date with a woman known as "Sophia Rose" met through the website ‘sugar babes’. He apparently used taxpayer money to pay for a domestic leg of his flights to reach Hong Kong.
For reasons which are difficult to understand, the incident was reported by Broad to the Australian Federal Police some weeks ago. He had asked them to investigate the woman he met in Hong Kong for what appears to be a sexual rendezvous.
Adding to the troubles of the Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, there has been controversy around the time in which he had known of the allegations against Broad. While he initially claimed he had known for two weeks, reports now indicate he had known since 8th November but chose not to inform the Prime Minister because he believed it to be a “personal matter”.
The scandal has overshadowed the government's budget update and forced Broad to quit the ministry and concede that he will not be contesting the next election.
While Broad's personal behaviour is questionable at best, this incident again represents how a third party, like a tabloid magazine, can control the narrative that can lead to the downfall of a prominent figure.
Recent research out of Sweden indicates that 10pm on Christmas Eve is the most dangerous time of the year for heart attacks.
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